Research Topic

Pollen as Food for Bees: Diversity, Nutrition, and Contamination

About this Research Topic

The demand for pollination as an agroecosystem service is increasing worldwide, as the land area of pollination-dependent crops increases. Bees, including both managed and wild species, are the most important pollinators of crop plants and play a crucial role in supporting biodiversity. Pollen is the major source of proteins, lipids, and micronutrients for nearly all species of bees. Bee diversity, abundance, and health, and the ecosystem services provided by bees depend on the availability, diversity, and nutritional quality of the pollen bees collect as they forage on flowering plants. Pollen can be contaminated by pesticides, especially in agroecosystems and other human-modified environments, and by other toxins or pathogens. Pollen can also contain beneficial plant chemicals and symbionts. Pollen links the agroecosystem and the surrounding landscape to this key group of insects essential for agricultural sustainability.

Around the world, changes in land use, such as increases in agricultural intensification, losses of flower-rich meadows and pastures, and increased use of pesticides in major crops, have been documented as factors in declines in bee abundance and diversity. To preserve the health of both managed and wild bees and the agroecosystem services and bee products they provide, we need to understand how bees forage for pollen in diverse landscapes, how the pollen they collect affects their nutrition and their health, what types and levels of contaminants are present in their pollen, and how those contaminants affect bee health and sustainability of the services and products they provide.

This Research Topic calls for contributions that include, but are not limited to, the following topics:
• Relationship of landscape ecology to diversity, nutritional value, and contamination of pollen collected by bees (managed or wild)
• Changes in landscape to improve bee health or pollination services and the results of those changes
• Nutritional value of different pollens for bees
• Factors affecting the digestibility of pollen
• Exposure of bees to natural or synthetic toxicants through pollen consumption or foraging
• Exposure of bees to pathogens through pollen
• Role of the microbiome of pollen and bees in fermentation, digestion, and detoxification
• Interaction of bee nutrition with stressors affecting bee health

Submissions of the following article types are welcome: Methods, Review, Mini Review, Original Research, Perspective, Policy and Practice Review, Systematic Review, Policy Brief


Keywords: Pollen, Apoidea, bees, nutrition, pesticides, microbiome, foraging, landscape ecology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The demand for pollination as an agroecosystem service is increasing worldwide, as the land area of pollination-dependent crops increases. Bees, including both managed and wild species, are the most important pollinators of crop plants and play a crucial role in supporting biodiversity. Pollen is the major source of proteins, lipids, and micronutrients for nearly all species of bees. Bee diversity, abundance, and health, and the ecosystem services provided by bees depend on the availability, diversity, and nutritional quality of the pollen bees collect as they forage on flowering plants. Pollen can be contaminated by pesticides, especially in agroecosystems and other human-modified environments, and by other toxins or pathogens. Pollen can also contain beneficial plant chemicals and symbionts. Pollen links the agroecosystem and the surrounding landscape to this key group of insects essential for agricultural sustainability.

Around the world, changes in land use, such as increases in agricultural intensification, losses of flower-rich meadows and pastures, and increased use of pesticides in major crops, have been documented as factors in declines in bee abundance and diversity. To preserve the health of both managed and wild bees and the agroecosystem services and bee products they provide, we need to understand how bees forage for pollen in diverse landscapes, how the pollen they collect affects their nutrition and their health, what types and levels of contaminants are present in their pollen, and how those contaminants affect bee health and sustainability of the services and products they provide.

This Research Topic calls for contributions that include, but are not limited to, the following topics:
• Relationship of landscape ecology to diversity, nutritional value, and contamination of pollen collected by bees (managed or wild)
• Changes in landscape to improve bee health or pollination services and the results of those changes
• Nutritional value of different pollens for bees
• Factors affecting the digestibility of pollen
• Exposure of bees to natural or synthetic toxicants through pollen consumption or foraging
• Exposure of bees to pathogens through pollen
• Role of the microbiome of pollen and bees in fermentation, digestion, and detoxification
• Interaction of bee nutrition with stressors affecting bee health

Submissions of the following article types are welcome: Methods, Review, Mini Review, Original Research, Perspective, Policy and Practice Review, Systematic Review, Policy Brief


Keywords: Pollen, Apoidea, bees, nutrition, pesticides, microbiome, foraging, landscape ecology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

29 October 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

29 October 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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